Charles River Conservancy announces new executive director

The Cambridge Chronicle

The Charles River Conservancy recently announced the appointment of new executive director Laura Jasinski, an urban planner with 10 years of experience in development and activation of urban open space, who will officially take over for founding president Renata von Tscharner on June 1.

Most recently, Jasinski served as the associate director of the Boston Waterfront Initiative with the Trustees of Reservations, an effort to build world-class, resilient open space on the Boston Harbor. Previously, she was the director of programs and planning for the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy, where she managed significant improvements and installations including the monumental aerial sculpture by Janet Echelman, “As If It Were Already Here.” In addition, her team facilitated over 400 free, public programs each year and was responsible for earned income initiatives on the Greenway, generating over $700,000 annually to support park operations.

“The board could not be happier that our thorough search resulted in finding Laura,” said Jennifer Gilbert, Charles River Conservancy board member who chaired the search committee. “She brings to the CRC both heart in her passion for parks and mind in her experience with projects like the Greenway carousel and Echelman sculpture which have delighted us all. We know many Boston-area nonprofits are facing the retirement of their long-time leaders. While change is not always easy, we feel incredibly fortunate and energized to be moving into our next phase with Laura as our next leader.”

“Laura brings her unique experience and deep commitment to open space activation to the Charles River Conservancy. I look forward to seeing her lead the organization to the next phase of success,” said Jesse Brackenbury, executive director of the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy.

“Laura takes on a strong and well-respected organization and she will be able to grow it further and imprint it with her own personal style,” said Kathy Abbott, president of Boston Harbor Now. Abbot has known both Laura and Renata for several years and is familiar with the challenges of leadership transitions and of running a nonprofit organization that works with multiple public agencies and many stakeholders. “I am looking forward to working with Laura as our two water bodies are touching and are both crucial to the livability and vitality of the Greater Boston region”.

This transition and the retirement of von Tscharner will be celebrated with a gala on June 2 at Annenberg Hall, when Laura will be inaugurated. “I feel the Charles River Conservancy has been like a child I put into this world,” expressed von Tscharner. “I nurtured it for 18 years and will now step back onto the Advisory Board. Passing the leadership role into Laura Jasinski’s caring and competent and hands fills me with great satisfaction and confidence for the future.”

Jasinski, who holds a Bachelor of Arts in architectural studies and a Master of Arts in urban and environmental policy and planning from Tufts University, is also a former co-captain of the Tufts Women’s Basketball team and a long-time athlete. She has trained for several half marathons and the 2016 Boston Marathon along the Charles River. “The Charles River and its surrounding public space is a defining landmark and asset of the Boston region and a place of personal significance,” said Jasinski. “I look forward to building on the CRC’s successful track record and to working with DCR and the surrounding communities to create new physical and cultural connections along the river. There are so many special places along the Charles to celebrate.”

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